Entertainment Magazine

Review #3607: Falling Skies 2.7: “Molon Labe”

Posted on the 25 July 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Bradley Thompson and David Weddle
Directed by Holly Dale

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m struggling to go along with what “Falling Skies” is presenting. I think it’s because I constantly wonder what the big picture is, and whether the writers will see it realized. The war between the aliens and humans gets complicated here because the resistance catches one of the alien overlords and holds him hostage.

Review #3607: Falling Skies 2.7: “Molon Labe”

It’s a smart move on the resistance’s part, but the resulting standoff lacked fireworks or tension. Part of it is the aliens’ use of Karen as the lead spokesperson for their agenda. The disassociative tone by which she espouses threats to the 2nd Massachusetts felt like the show going on auto-pilot. Until a pivotal scene late in the episode, one in which Tom reaches his breaking point and does something so unlike his cerebral personality. It is something so unexpected that, to me, seemed to kick awake the events of the episode. I think the episode needed more of those kinds of actions because a lot of what was around it wasn’t that interesting.

When the aliens surround the hospital with the intent of smoking the 2nd Massachusetts out, suddenly their safe haven is turned into a house of horrors. It escalates pretty quickly, with the aliens bringing in a new element never seen before: these spider-like creatures who have the ability to apparently eat through metal and use a human body to nest and incubate themselves. As poor Jamil finds out in the episode. The spiders make for an effective short-term spook.

Whether we see them again is another question. The deaths of some members of the 2nd Massachusetts do change the tone of the series. Where the hospital used to be a relatively safe haven for the survivors, that has been turned upside-down by the invading aliens. They use Jamil as a host for a bevy of spiders, and his death rocks Lourdes to the core. Although I think I could have done without her statements that all everyone can do now is wait to die.

I was like Dr. Glass in that scene, who tells Lourdes that they have to deal with the situation in hand and worry about the repercussions of death later. Karen and the mechs use Boone as an example of what the humans face if Tom doesn’t give up the overlord he captured. His death scene was impressive from a visual standpoint, with his fall to the ground as the spotlights of the mechs and light snow surround him.

The scene is also sparse with the dialogue, often the show’s key weakness, and shows the despair on the faces of Captain Weaver and the rest of the company as they witness one of their own gunned down in front of them. What does bother me a bit is whether we’ll remember any of this down the road, and what real impact Jamil and Boone’s deaths will have on those remaining. Judging by what came before this episode regarding past character deaths, they may not get more than token mentions in the future.

It would seem that Ben is the key to the whole story. That’s why Karen lured him out of the hospital and into the clutches of the alien overlords. His “connection” to Red Eye and the skitter rebellion via his spikes proves to be very valuable. I still maintain the overlords know about the skitter rebellion all along and are playing some kind of long con to wipe out both that and the human resistance. The complication is that Tom takes one of the overlords hostage. That changes the tenor of the game.

Suddenly, the mechs are less of a random menace. They are united behind Karen to force the 2nd Massachusetts to give up the overlord. I find it curious that Tom didn’t question the overlord about his missing time on the mother ship in between seasons when he found out it was the one he communicated with. He was too busy trying to keep Ben alive when the overlord causes the kid to suffocate to death. The overlord forces Tom’s hand, and seemingly in a fit of calculated rage, Tom takes out his handgun and shoots the overlord in the neck.

This kind of ruthless action is totally unexpected from someone like Tom. Someone who values life, even if it is an alien being with intentions of genocide. The stakes are higher now, and I admit to feeling a bit of delight when the smug, alien-controlled Karen discovers that her master is dying. She lets out an inhuman scream (further indication of how much the aliens have fundamentally changed Karen) and lunges towards Tom, only to be stopped by Ben. No more games. Either the aliens let the 2nd Massachusetts pass to Charleston without incident, or the overlord dies. For once, the resistance has a leg up on the aliens, and that’s something very welcome in such a dark and seemingly hopeless situation. The 2nd Massachusetts is moving on to Charleston (finally) a little lighter than they were when they found this hospital and used it as shelter.

“Falling Skies” comes into this mini-break in the story with some intriguing, if slightly frustrating, questions. Does the human resistance element that is rumored to be in Charleston actually exist? I frankly wouldn’t be surprised if it was a pile of black ash or some trap laid by the aliens to pin down the 2nd Massachusetts. Avery could have easily been a double agent in league with the aliens. If that becomes the case, it would certainly mark a very dark turn for a series that has built some hope in such dire circumstances. Can the 2nd Massachusetts survive the long journey to get to Charleston?

While the aliens have promised to let them pass without incident, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will get there in one piece. It’s a long journey, and they won’t have the resources or aid they had when they were at the hospital. The episode ends on a cliffhanger that is fraught with danger and the situation has the potential to get much worse. I can only hope the writers can realize that potential and run with it.

Score: 7/10

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog